Source:Police Chief Magazine
Colleen McCue, Ph.D., Program Manager, Crime Analysis Unit,and Colonel Andre’ Parker, Chief of Police, Richmond Police Department, Richmond, Virginia
Law enforcement organizations are challenged by a staggering increase in data on a daily basis. In fact, it has been estimated that the amount of data in the world doubles every 20 months. Every transaction, every event, every blip of electricity has the potential to generate data. The events of September 11, 2001, have only served to increase the flood of data while underscoring the critical importance of timely and complete exploitation of law enforcement data resources. The changing face of the war on terrorism and the challenge to connect the dots faces all law enforcement professionals, including those in the local arena.
Data mining tools, which were once reserved for large federal agencies and research centers, are now available to enhance decision making and analysis in the state and local law enforcement arena. Used extensively in the business community, the newer data mining tools do not require huge IT budgets, specialized personnel, or advanced training in statistics. Rather, these products are highly intuitive, relatively easy-to-use, PC-based, and very accessible to the law enforcement community.
The Richmond, Virginia, Police Department is using data mining and predictive analytics for a variety of law enforcement and intelligence applications, including tactical crime analysis, risk and threat assessment, behavioral analysis of violent crime, and proactive deployment strategies.